How To Write Clearly And Concisely

5 conversion copywriting tips for writing clearly and concisely

When new subscribers join my email list, they receive a survey asking them a few questions.

One of the survey questions is: “When it comes to copywriting, what do you struggle with the most?”

The #1 response to that question? “How to write clearly and concisely”

I’m not going to lie:

Being able to write clearly and concisely is a skill, and even after a decade of practice, I still have plenty of room for improvement.

However, there are a few simple rules anyone – regardless of their copywriting experience – can follow to make their copy clearer and more effective.

While it may take some practice, if you follow these rules, you’ll be in a far better position than most businesses out there.

Here is a high-level recap of the 5 rules:

How to write clearly and concisely

Below I list out each of the rules and give examples of the dos and don’ts in action.

Keep in mind, there’s more than one way to write the “new and improved” copy for each example; I just included some samples so you can see how the rules work.

Also, while these rules may seem simple (or maybe you’ve seen them before), I think it’s still worth it to go through each example to learn why it does or doesn’t work (that’s how you improve!).

I hope you find the rules and examples helpful when writing copy for your own business or your  clients’ businesses.

Let’s dive in!

Rule #1: Don’t be vague. Be specific.

Vague: “Work on hiring projects you can be proud of”

Why doesn’t this work?

❌  “Hiring projects” could apply to any job or role; it’s too general

❌  It doesn’t tell us why someone would be proud to work on it

Specific: “Work for product development teams that are building the next big thing in tech”

Why does this work?

✅  Mentions a specific type of team/industry they’d be working for

✅  Tells us why someone would be excited or proud to work on it

Rule #2: Don’t focus on you. Focus on the customer.

Company first: “We’re driven by excellence and empathy and would love to hear about your project and how we can help.”

Why doesn’t this work?

❌  It’s all about the company, not the customer

❌  It doesn’t use language that appeals to me (i.e. “You” “Your”)

❌  It doesn’t ask the reader to do anything

Customer first: “Tell us about your project”

Why does this work?

✅  Asks the reader to do something specific

✅  Cuts out the unnecessary clunk and gets to the point – fast!

✅  Uses words that are specific and appealing to the customer (“your project”)

Rule #3: Don’t sacrifice clarity for cleverness. Write clearly to avoid misinterpretation.

 “Clever”: “End your night with a good fry”

Why doesn’t this work?

❌  May take people too long to “get it” (especially if driving on highway)

❌  May only appeal to a certain group of customers (i.e. adult women)

Clear: “Hot & crispy fries. Open all night.”

Why does this work?

✅  Can be understood in milliseconds

✅  Clearly explains the offer in an enticing way

✅  Appeals to all customers, regardless of age or gender

Rule #4: Don’t hide the “value prop” in the middle/end. Lead with it.

Hiding the value prop: “We provide a suite of tools for cities to digitally transform local government. Our software offers your citizens a delightful experience in local government.”

Why doesn’t this work?

❌  Value props buried at the end of each sentence (vs leading with it)

❌  Too much “we” and “our” copy and not enough “you” and “your” copy

❌  Too long when it could easily be shorter or broken up into subheads, bullets, etc

Leading with value prop: “Bring your local government into the digital age”

Why does this work?

✅  Tells us the same information, but simpler and more concise

✅  Leads with the outcome, not what the product is

✅  Cuts out the “we” and “our” copy

Rule #5: Don’t overcomplicate it with jargon or complexity. Write simply.

Overcomplicated: “We listen and collaborate to develop ideas that impact your growth”

Why doesn’t this work?

❌  Clunky and confusing; doesn’t flow well because it’s written in an overly complicated way

❌  Focused on the company, not the customer (leads with “we” vs what the customer wants)

❌  Not specific; what are the ideas? How will it impact my growth? Etc

Simple: “Hit your growth goals with a marketing plan that’s customized to your needs”

Why does this work?

✅  Essentially says the same thing, but in a clearer, more straightforward way

✅  Highly specific both in terms of the outcome (hit your growth goals) and the method (custom marketing plan)

✅  We can cut out words like “listen and collaborate” or “develop ideas” because the word “custom” implies the same things, but in a clearer, more concise way

What are your conversion copywriting tips?

I’d love to hear them! Share your best conversion copywriting tips below.

Need help making your copy clearer and more concise? You can always reach out to me directly:

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